Pakistan’s textile export sector marked its first positive growth in ten months in October, with textile shipments increasing by 5 percent year-on-year to reach $1.43 billion, as per All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) data.
However, the overall performance in the first four months of the current fiscal year, commencing in July, witnessed a 7 percent decrease in textile exports, amounting to $5.55 billion when compared to the same period in the prior year. Moreover, data covering ten months in calendar year 2023 reveals a more substantial 16 percent decline in textile exports, falling to $13.14 billion from $15.88 billion during the same period in 2022.
On a positive note, Pakistan’s trade deficit showed improvement. In the first four months of the current fiscal year (FY24), the deficit decreased from $11.36 billion in the corresponding period of FY23 to $7.42 billion. This shift is attributed to a reduction in imports and relatively stable export figures.
The textile industry has voiced concerns over higher electricity tariffs compared to regional counterparts. The APTMA has urged the government to lower electricity tariffs for the sector, aiming to enhance its competitiveness. Currently, the textile industry pays 16 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, which is higher than tariffs in countries like Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam.
Gohar Ejaz, the Minister for Commerce and Industries, has expressed satisfaction with the country’s economic stabilization and trade deficit reduction, citing efforts to curtail imports and maintain export stability as key factors contributing to the positive trend. The recovery of Pakistan’s textile exports, a critical economic sector, remains subject to ongoing challenges, such as rising input costs and the need for competitive electricity tariffs.